and so it goes

 

Sister, Brother and I just had a round robin telephone conference and have agreed to place Mum in a home. The community nurse contacted us with an offer of a high care bed in a facility about 20 minutes drive from Our Hometown, and actually in the town where most of my mother’s sisters live.

It isn’t the home that would be our first choice, but when old people refuse to make timely decisions they also lose the right to choice. Mum always said that she would “know when it is time to move”, but of course, as we knew, no one ever does recognise the moment.

She is fairly clear for the first part of the day, but as the day goes on she starts to sundown and is quite unsettled at night. We have been open with her that she needs to go into care, and at times she seems to understand, but at other times she asks my sister to take her home. She has even had a weep, and this is a woman whom I have only ever witnessed crying at her father’s funeral, and to be a little teary when my Dad died, so I understand the depth of her grief at losing her freedom and her mind.

We are all a little apprehensive, as we lived through our Dad suffering from dementia, though his was caused by multi-infarct dementia and he became quite aggressive at times. Mum’s is taking a different course, though we know the end will be the same. It is making us all fearful for what be ahead for us as we age too.

Life really is a shit, and then you die, but more importantly take control of your destiny in a timely manner. Be prepared. Don’t break your family’s heart making decisions that you should have made.

 

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13 thoughts on “and so it goes

  1. My Grandmother went into an assisted living Facility earlier this year. She has done so much better there than when she was on her own. Like your Mother, she struggled with the move. My Father, her son, made it worse as he could not insist. Luckily she is sharp as a tack, but at 94, she needs some assistance. It is not easy. Take good care during this time.

    • my Gran was the same age, Mizunogirl, and also ‘sharp as a tack’ and it was still hard. Her independence meant so much to her but there was gradually less and less that she could do for herself. A sad time.

    • I always feared Mum would develop dementia because her lifestyle was not one to boost brain power. Mr FD’s mother is 90 this year and same as your Grandmother – sharp but slow!

      • Yes. There were safety issues – doors left open, cut finger, pots over boiling, – just too many clues that things weren’t right – even with Mum going in twice a day! Once she moved into the home she brightened up and was happy.
        Not sure which I would prefer though – losing my physical or mental abilities – hopefully neither. :-)

        • I would rather lose the phsycial, as I remember too well my Dad’s anguish at losing his short term memory. It was a long sad goodbye and it is heart breaking when your own father doesn’t know you.

  2. Even when one’s parent is fading and obviously needs help, it’s a hard decision to make. I think about how my father was the contrarian who didn’t want to see his sundowning mother placed in a care facility, while my aunt, who was personally looking after her day and night, couldn’t wait to hand her off. My father tried to make her look cold-hearted, but I know, especially now, that he was in denial. (Or just stupid. It depends on my mood when I’m thinking about it.) My poor aunt probably lost ten years of her own life just shepherding my grandmother. So what you and your siblings are doing now is very sensible and sound. Your mother may well enjoy being cared for once she settles in.

    But I confess I don’t like the idea of losing my independence either. I dread the thought of losing my mind and physical health long before I die, which is why I don’t like those news stories about science allowing us to live to 100. It’s not going to be much fun spending the last ten years in a nursing home!

    • I don’t think it is fair for one sibling to guilt another sibling out if they aren’t sharing the burden. In almost all cases I have witnessed their general quality of life improves in care.

  3. Selfish of me to say this, but I am so glad my father was around to make that decision when it came time for my mother to go “into care.”

    And, gladly, he has not only mentioned several times that he knows he will probably eventually have to go into a facility, but has said which one he wants it to be.

    Hopefully this experience will be as dramma free as possible.

  4. That’s tough, FD. My mum was kind of fortunate in that her mother moved into a retirement village fairly young which meant that she progressed from her unit to the hostel and later the nursing home as she got more unable to look after herself. Hope your mum is settling in okay.

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